Ricards Bolotniks to former Olympian Imam Khataev: “It’s my game”

Latvian heavyweight Ricards Bolotniks says he is ready to take on Russian imam Khataev in an accelerated clash in which he believes his experience will prevail.

Bolotniks (20-7-1, 8 KOs) will face Tokyo 2020 Olympic bronze medalist Khataev (6-0, 6 KOs) on the Vasiliy Lomachenko-George Kambosos Jr. main event undercard in Perth . , Australia on Sunday (Saturday in the United States). The Bolotniks enter the showdown as the obvious keepers destined to catapult Khataev into the race.

“It’s my game, not his,” Bolotniks told BoxingScene. “It’s professional boxing, it’s very different from amateur boxing. I watched him in the amateurs and, seriously, I like his boxing. He’s tough, he’s strong, with a big punch. I saw him knock out a few guys in amateur boxing.

“They’ve been trying to get me to fight this guy for a while. They sent me offers to fight him in many places. He’s got a good team, a good coach, great managers, all that kind of stuff. He wakes up and does nothing but train. I wake up, I go to work, then I work out, then I come home and sit with my son, then I work out again. I have two jobs at the moment. This is a fight in which a great professional faces a guy who just has the will to win. If you want to beat the Bolotniks, you better do a good job. It’s never easy to fight.

The Bolotniks are coming off a routine six-round victory over little-known Tomas Bezvoda in his native Riga after a disappointing sixth-round stoppage against Oleksandr Gvozdyk last May.

“After Gvozdyk, something changed in my head,” Bolotniks said. “I gave everything at Gvozdyk training camp – everything. It was such a strong camp, I felt good before this fight. But then I got caught. I said before the fight that if I lose and I look bad, I will quit. But he just caught me. It wasn’t my fault – it was hard to have power in the fight because my side was constantly being moved around, from 10 weeks to 12 weeks, then from 12 to 15 weeks. I trained a little too hard before the fight, I didn’t have much power left in me for the fight in Mexico, but my fitness was really good because I trained really hard. It was shit because I started that fight really well and then I got stopped.

“I had that fight in Latvia afterward, which was crap, just to get over the loss. After that, I didn’t want to box anywhere, but then I started thinking: “I’m in good shape, I still train every day.” Why not?’ I’m going to Australia for the first time and I’m making good money and I have no pressure on me. Nobody tells me I have to beat this guy, because he’s good and he’s the Olympian. Ultimately, it’s my job. I just have to go do my job, make money and bring it to my wife.

Khataev will take on his toughest task since signing a professional contract with Montreal-based Eye of the Tiger Management in 2021. With his 100% knockout rate, against unknown opposition, he has been compared to Artur Beterbiev.

“It’s professional boxing,” Bolotniks said. “I think he’s only gone four or five rounds so far. Yes, he’s a good amateur boxer, and if we fight an amateur fight, yes, he’s good at it. But that’s my game – I’ve boxed a lot at 10 and 12 rounds. I know he doesn’t know what it feels like, I know what it feels like after six rounds; he doesn’t know it yet. The referee will announce the eighth round, he will think: “Damn, how come I still have three rounds left? » So for that reason I want the full 10 rounds. We’ll see how he feels after six hours.

“I will probably beat him on points, I have a lot more experience. I want to box this guy for the whole 10 rounds because I have experience in these later rounds that he doesn’t do it. I’m curious to see how he handles this.

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